Explore New York City

Best Things to Do in NYC According to a Concierge: Sanam Skelly

We asked Sanam Skelly, concierge at the Mandarin Oriental New York hotel for her recommendations when visiting New York.

The Interview

Q: What do you love most about the city? Why? 

A: I love how unpredictable the city can be. You never know what new adventure you’ll find when you turn the corner. 

Q: What stops should be on every visitor’s “bucket list” when coming here?

A: Everyone should walk the High Line, get cookies at Levain Bakery and find time to get a great slice of New York pizza. 

Q: What’s your best advice for exploring the city like a local, whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran? 

A: I suggest visiting all the major attractions on your list first, then spend the rest of your trip enjoying strolls around the city. Take your time. Don’t overpack your schedule. You won’t get to do it all in one trip, so enjoy what you can, and come back for more!

Q: What’s a good spot to capture a great selfie?  

A: I love the underpass of Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, two architectural features overlooking the lake in Central Park. It’s one of the prettiest places in NYC.

Q: Do you have any favorite local restaurants?

A: Brooklyn has some of the best restaurants. No. 7 has a great, innovative menu in a cozy, intimate space. Lilia is one of the best new additions to the Italian restaurant scene. Its soft serve dessert will change your life.

Q: For guests looking for a night on the town, what would you recommend?

A: Have dinner at L’Artusi for Italian small plates and an extensive—mostly Italian—wine list, and end up at Gallow Green rooftop bar and lounge atop the McKittrick Hotel for the beautiful and lush ambience, chic cocktails and weekly music events. 

45 am | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Employees Only)

Q: Is there an inside secret that every night owl should know about when going out on the town? 

A: Keep the party going all night at West Village haunt Employees Only, known for inventive drinks and free chicken soup at 3:45 am (above).